November 5, 1919

CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

The hon. member is too low in his figure.

Topic:   COMMITTEE ON SOLDIERS' CIVIL RE-ESTABLISHMENT.
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
Permalink
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

If the hon. gentleman will allow me just for a moment, the estimate made, not by the chairman but by the committee after the evidence had been submitted to us., was that the commitments for this year, including the amount voted by Parliament and sums that must be provided in addition to those voted by Parliament, approximated $600,000,000, on which there would be a small, but a comparatively small, saving, and not $200,000,000.

Topic:   COMMITTEE ON SOLDIERS' CIVIL RE-ESTABLISHMENT.
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
Permalink
UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

I think when the hon. gentleman reads Hansard to-morrow, he will find out that he made the statement. The hon. gentleman took out the items to which I already referred and said that they were capital expenses and not losses.

Mr. CALDE.R: There is one item of $350,000,000 under the Demobilization and Appropriation Act.

Topic:   COMMITTEE ON SOLDIERS' CIVIL RE-ESTABLISHMENT.
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
Permalink
?

Morley Currie

Mr. OURRIE:

The minister said that, but included in that is " trade expenses," which are not demobilization items, and surely that is not a loss.

Topic:   COMMITTEE ON SOLDIERS' CIVIL RE-ESTABLISHMENT.
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
Permalink
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

No, but there will be included in that $350,000,000 no less a sum than $153,000,000 for gratuities, less the amount that has been paid prior to the first of April.

Topic:   COMMITTEE ON SOLDIERS' CIVIL RE-ESTABLISHMENT.
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
Permalink
?

Morley Currie

Mr. OURRIE:

There are credits here of $125,000,000 for Great Britain and Allied countries. That surely is not a wasted asset; that will be returnable. Then there are credits for the Grand Trunk Pacific for deficits on operating expenses. Of course, that is cold loss. The housing scheme, $25,000,000 has not been carried through, so that will be a saving. The minister was checked by the leader of the House (Sir George Foster), who, I think, detected that there must have been a few stray figures there, but the minister said that $260,000,000 would be the net amount expended that would not return any interest on the investment as the others would.

Topic:   COMMITTEE ON SOLDIERS' CIVIL RE-ESTABLISHMENT.
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

George Green Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I am afraid the hon. member has a few stray figures on the wrong side.

Topic:   COMMITTEE ON SOLDIERS' CIVIL RE-ESTABLISHMENT.
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
Permalink
UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

ll do not think so. I do not get stray figures very often as a rule. Apart altogether from them, as those figures have nothing to do with the question of the soldier's gratuity, if the Government wishes

Topic:   COMMITTEE ON SOLDIERS' CIVIL RE-ESTABLISHMENT.
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR CONCURRENCE IN REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
Permalink

NOVEMBFK 5, 1919 17S9


to spend $100,000,000, that is no reason why the soldiers should not receive consideration, nor why they should not receive a gratuity. The Government, it is true, can go to work and spend $1,500,000,000 a year; it can buy up railways; it can buy up electric light companies; it can start public ownership schemes that will involve millions every year and then hold this up and say: Oh, we cannot do anything for the returned soldier. I want to refer to another item in the report, and that is the soldiers' land settlement scheme. The Land Settlement Board is a most excellently managed board. The members work hard; they have a very difficult task; but the problem put forward is this: They have to settle the soldier on the land. I cannot for the world see what increased production you can get out of changing the ownership of the land. The policy adopted throughout Canada is this. A soldier selects a piece of land that is occupied already by a farmer, possibly some old farmer who wants to leave and go to live in the town and talk " U. F. O." or some other kind of politics. This Government steps in and buys that land from the farmer, and the farmer goes and lives in a village or town, so that we have lost that man's production. We have not gained any more by the deal than we had before. We simply substitute one man for another. The manner in which the Government deals with these men is not as good as the Australian scheme. When a man takes up land under our Soldiers' Settlement Act, his wife can sell the eggs, but she cannot sell the chickens without the consent of the Government, and a man who owns a farm of that kind is a thousand times worse off than an Irish tenant. The manner in which that land should be given to the soldier is this. The land should be purchased, and it should be rented on a long-term lease to the soldier with the option on his part to purchase it at the end of the term. That is the system that is suggested in Australia, and it is a system that, I think, would appeal to every hon. member in this House. If the man does not succeed on the farm, and if he leaves it, the Government has the farm and can lease it to another soldier or sell it or do whatever it likes with it. As it is now, the man goes on to the land, and-he is tied up under sixteen hundred different regulations, so that he cannot sell his crop, or a chicken, or a cow, or anything else off that farm unless he gets the consent of the Government. If that is not paternalism gone mad, I do not know anything. That is the consideration the Government gives to the returned soldier, and it is no wonder that he growls. The question was brought up in the House by the hon. member for Muskoka (Mr. Mc-Gibbon) with reference to those men who are in hospital under the demobilization scheme, who have left the military hospitals and who have gone over to the hospitals under the Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment Department. Those men went under the distinct promise that the pay of their rank would be given to them. And this committee goes to work, and simply on the suggestion of somebody they want' to cut the pay of the officers down to $60 a month. The minister would not discuss with the House the various suggestions made as to how the money Could be raised, although the House, I think, would have liked to hear from the minister the suggested form of taxation discussed. The leader of the House is, I know, very deeply interested as a student of economics, and I hope he will follow the discussion along these lines.


CON
UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

The first suggestion that came before the committee was that of State lotteries, and the suggestion was made by Mr. Flynn. The suggestion is now under consideration in England with reference to a premium bond. A premium bond is, of course, a lottery, and every nation in Europe, I think, with the single exception of Great Britain, has premium bonds and has sold premium bonds and part of its debt is carried by premium bonds. That is to say, you purchase the bonds which pay interest at three and-a-half or four per cent, but a certain sum, like added interest, is set apart every year and there is a drawing, and if you have a bond and your number is fortunate enough in that drawing, you may have $500 or $1,000 or $2,000 or $10,000 in cash as a prize, but you have your bond still and you may be lucky again next year. And in the end you get your money in full back.

That is one method of getting money, and it is a cheap and easy way. While the people of Great Britain have always considered it gambling, other countries, like France, for instance, have not, and have raised large sums of money by that scheme. Then there are the Sunday theatres and liquor sales. I do not expect that we will ever get anything more from the sale of liquors. We have lost $12,000,000 or $14,000,000 through the exercise of

bone-dry laws. The inheritance tax belongs to the provinces. The ex-Minis-ter of Finance in giving evidence before the committee discussed these various questions with great clearness and force. He pointed out in the first place that the backbone of all the revenue of the country was the customs duties, but nobody asked him Whether the customs duties could not be increased. Why the absolute silence? Was it because everybody in the room was a free trader? I belong to a party that would not be afraid to add to the customs duties if it was going to produce more revenue, that was necessary. The ex-Minister of Finance went on to say that the income tax in Canada was greater than in any other country in the world practically, at least of the Allies.

Topic:   NOVEMBFK 5, 1919 17S9
Permalink
UNION
UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

That may be a mistake. The income tax in this country is certainly greater than in the United States. I think that is what he intended to say.

Topic:   NOVEMBFK 5, 1919 17S9
Permalink
UNION
UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

But one would have inferred what I said just now. Not only have we as great an income tax as the United States, but we have also a tax on business profits, so our taxes on income are much greater than in the United States. I can quite understand a gentleman who is steeped to the eyebrows in free trade, like the hon. member for Vancouver, talking about nothing else but income tax. We never knew an income tax in this country until a few years ago and always raised our revenue by customs duties. We always found it a good method. The war enabled the Government to force a direct tax on the people, but I say you cannot keep that direct tax on the people more than five or six years longer, because they are going to get tired of it. Do you wonder why the farmers revolted in the last election? I can tell you. You are getting after their income. That is the chief cause of the trouble. If we continue to have an income tax in this country greater than in the United States, how in the name of conscience can we expect anybody in the United States to invest their money in Canada? Do you expect factories in this country to be enlarged or new ones to be built if you take away all extra profits? Perhaps this country can get along without additional factories. That is a question that is staring us straight in the face. We are also confronted with the question of the rate of exchange between Germany

and this country. A member of this House told me not very long ago that he wished to purchase some machines for the company he was interested in, and found that the price in the United States was something like $2,500. A gentleman attached to the company in the United States, who was a German, said, " Let us see what we can get this machinery for from Germany." They got a price around $450 or $480 on account of the drop in the value of the mark and the difference in wages. If you are going to leave our walls down to the Germans and allow the Swiss and the Dutch and the Spanish, to ship German go ids in as their own, you will deprive the factories of this country of their labour. The workingman of this country has something to say. The people who live in the cities and towns constitute 60 per cent of our population. Jf you are going to pursue a burdensome policy and grind a man down with income taxation, our manufacturers will be driven to the United States. The manufacturer who has a few hundred thousand dollars to invest and considers putting it in a factory-

Topic:   NOVEMBFK 5, 1919 17S9
Permalink
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I can understand that

a reference to taxation proposals is inseparable from this measure, but it does not follow that we should have a Budget debate.

Topic:   NOVEMBFK 5, 1919 17S9
Permalink
UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

tariff. But the people who are profiteering in trade in Canada are the Americans. They are the people who are sending in millions of dollars' worth of automobiles and other luxuries such as silk and diamonds. Now, most of these luxuries are free. Why should diamonds be free? Silks have a lower duty than almost anything else, and there is no reason why the luxurious articles should be almost free whilst there is a duty on woollens; it is a most absurd proposition. The customs revenue should be increased in some way, and I want to inform this House that the soldier is quite up-to-date ' and knows all about these matters. He knows very well that the country can raise additional revenue to provide the money for him. But with all your groanings about the income tax, all that can be raised in this direction is $12,000,000 or $14,000,000.

Topic:   NOVEMBFK 5, 1919 17S9
Permalink
UNION
UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Well, they did not raise

that last year, and it is like all the rest of the estimates in connection with the income tax in this country. They always estimate that they are going to get twice as much as they get in reality. We have not in this country men with great incomes. The country is not old enough, and while there may be a few scattered individuals with large incomes from railway stocks, it is absurd to think that you can raise revenue in this country by a taxation of incomes. The revenue to provide the gratuity must be found by means of the tariff.

Now, hon. gentlemen may think that I am talking from the standpoint of a hardshell protectionist Tory, but it was [DOT] the Conservative party that went into the war boldly because it knew that the revenues of the country could stand the strain, and that the patriotism of the people would prove equal to the task. I am very sorry that that party is not in power to-day, because I am satisfied that it would have courage enough to apply a system of protection and a national policy that could easily raise the amount that it demanded by the soldiers. If the tariff were increased I would not be afraid to take the platform in any constituency in this country, especially if there are any factories in it-

Topic:   NOVEMBFK 5, 1919 17S9
Permalink

November 5, 1919